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Intermountain Healthcare to require COVID-19 vaccines for caregivers

SALT LAKE CITY — Intermountain Healthcare announced it will require all of its caregivers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Officials said they are implementing the requirement “to comply with federal vaccination requirements announced by President Biden in September.”

Intermountain employees must receive at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Jan. 5, 2022, and the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine by Feb. 9, 2022.

Dr. Mark Briesacher, chief physician executive and senior vice president of Intermountain, said the company will move to terminate unvaccinated employees without an exemption at that time.

“We understand this may be a significant decision for some of those not yet vaccinated,” Briesacher said. “Every employee is a valued member of the Intermountain Healthcare team, and we will walk with them through each step of this requirement.”

Intermountain is one of the largest private employers in Utah and has “more than 41,000 caregivers who serve the health care needs of people across the Intermountain West, primarily in Utah, Idaho and Nevada.”

Intermountain caregivers are already required to be vaccinated for influenza, hepatitis, measles and mumps, and pertussis.   

The company said, just like with other required vaccines, employees can apply for a medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine.   

“We’re taking the same approach with COVID-19 as we do with the influenza vaccine in applying it broadly,” Briesacher said in a virtual news conference announcing the decision. “It also does include people who work remotely.”   

Briesacher said the COVID-19 vaccine requirement applies to all employees of Intermountain Healthcare, including partner organizations, vendors, volunteers, and affiliated medical staff.   

“Once you are in our facility you have to be following those federal rules and standards,” Briesacher said, “and so for that reason, we are going to require it of everyone.”  

Intermountain estimates that 80% of its caregivers are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

 

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